Adolescents, Anxiety, and the Transition to Adulthood: The Launching Emerging Adults Program

Thursday, April 5: 1:00 PM  - 3:00 PM 
Master Clinician Session 
Exhibit Level 
Room: Lincoln 4 



Anxiety disorders are persistent, disabling, and most notably, impair an adolescent's ability to successfully transition to emerging adulthood, the stage coined by Arnett (2004) of "in between and uncertainty." School refusal in the form of "college refusal" and unemployment, along with continued emotional and functional dependence on caretakers is not uncommon for emerging adults with anxiety disorders. Although CBT and medication are effective treatments for anxiety in adolescents and children (Walkup, et al., 2008), long-term remission through the transition to adulthood is not maintained for many youth (Ginsburg et al., 2014). The Launching Emerging Adults Program (LEAP) was developed as an integration of core components of effective CBT for anxiety in adolescents and young adults with novel developmental and family-based components designed to address patient-caretaker dependency, role transitions, and attainment of behaviors necessary for independent functioning. LEAP is thus a developmentally-informed treatment aimed at increasing anxiety management while increasing independent, age-appropriate functioning. In this session, Dr. Albano will present how to integrate LEAP-specific assessment ("Launching Emerging Adult Functioning Scale" for assessing developmental tasks) into the intake and case formulation plans. Details for the LEAP treatment protocol and parent involvement will be illustrated using clinical case examples to illustrate specific components such as: negotiating the developmental hierarchy, addressing parental "letting go" while engaging and addressing core beliefs and fears of the parents and their emerging adult child, and engaging youth in group and virtual reality exposures. Dr. Albano will illustrate specific family transition session issues and strategies along with setting up higher-level exposures to facilitate anxiety management while increasing engagement to emerging adult-transition and age-appropriate behavior.

Learning Objectives

1. 1. Learn to recognize and assess the tasks of development necessary for adolescents to transition to adulthood
2. 2. Learn strategies for addressing parental protection and involvement, along with adolescent dependency, including family communication and problem solving
3. 3. Understand how to use group and individual exposures to undo avoidance and increase skill acquisition 


Anne Marie Albano, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center

Audience Level



Emerging Adults (college students)


Diversity - Yes


120 minutes



Treatment Approach